Vegetarian Ideal

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
- Albert Einstein

Monday, October 31, 2011

Planet Earth

This blog has no religious affiliation and seeks to record interesting or inspiring materials from many angles on the big questions, "Where do we come from?  and Where do we go?"  Throughout history men have attempted to give us meaningful answers to these questions in myths, legends and religions.

Creation Calls -- are you listening? Music by Brian Doerksen - YouTube: "

Music by Brian Doerksen

Go buy the "Planet Earth" series DVD collection!

Utilizing footage from the BBC Planet Earth Series, we take a look at the wonder and majesty of God's creation. Set to the song, "Creation Calls" by Brian Doerksen, this stunning glimpse of God's masterpiece is meant to glorify Him and draw the mind to new places of intimacy with Him.

The video was used in conjunction with the series of messages, "Blueprint" from Chris Seidman. In the series he discusses the subject of God's plan for His creation. The message "Creation Calls" can be viewed here:,100000002,15


Nonprofits & Activism

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Doubt and Atheism

The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief.

- Sigmund Freud

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

William James

"In his well-known lectures on "The Varieties of Religious Experience", William James listed the two main characteristics that defined for him the mystical state: ineffability and the noetic quality.  Ineffability stems from the fact that the experience defies expression.  It cannot be transmitted to anyone who has not had a similar experience, and communication with one who has is made only through vague expressions rather than explicit description.  The noetic quality is the insight revealed through the experience, an insight that is also hard to describe.  However, the truths understood by a person in a mystical state, although inexpressible, may have an extraordinary effect on his or her entire life."

James mentions two additional characteristics: transiency and passivity.  Transiency is the normal brevity of the experiences, which rarely lasts for more than a few hours and often passes in moments.  Nevertheless, an exquisite moment is often experienced as eternal.

The characteristic of passivity is the inability to enter the mystical experience at will, or remain in it through our own efforts.  Wanting is not enough to assure its presence - but we will see that a high level of desire and effort makes us more receptive to the experiences when they come our way.

Source:  "Silence, Simplicity and Solitude - a Guide for Spiritual Retreat" by David A. Cooper

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chuck Berry turns 85 - Rock and Roll God

"There would be no rock & roll guitar without Chuck Berry. His signature lick — a staccato, double-string screech descended from Chicago blues with a strong country inflection — is the music's defining twang. He introduced it in his 1955 Chess Records debut, "Maybellene," and used it to dynamic effect in nearly two dozen classic hits in the next ten years."

"Berry was the first giant of rock & roll guitar. 
Nothing else matters."

Source: 100 Greatest Guitarists: Chuck Berry | Rolling Stone:

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

How the King James Bible Forever Changed English: 400th Anniversary Celebrated with Fun Videos | Open Culture

How the King James Bible Forever Changed English: 400th Anniversary Celebrated with Fun Videos | Open Culture: "How the King James Bible Forever Changed English: 400th Anniversary Celebrated with Fun Videos
in English Language, History, Religion | October 10th, 2011 1 Comment
138 57

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, a translation that influenced the development of the English language as much as it did the Christian faith. Right alongside many other anniversary celebrations taking place this year, Glen Scrivener, a minister in the Church of England, has started a blog about the linguistic impact of the text, focusing on 365 phrases that have passed in common parlance. A lot of this gets artfully distilled by Scrivener’s short video, The King’s English – 100 phrases in 3 Minutes (above)."

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When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. 
- Rumi

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Construct of Mindfulness | Journal of Social Issues | Find Articles

The Construct of Mindfulness | Journal of Social Issues | Find Articles:

Mindfulness is not an easy concept to define but can be best understood as the process of drawing novel distinctions. It does not matter whether what is noticed is important or trivial, as long as it is new to the viewer. Actively drawing these distinctions keeps us situated in the present. It also makes us more aware of the context and perspective of our actions than if we rely upon distinctions and categories drawn in the past. Under this latter situation, rules and routines are more likely to govern our behavior, irrespective of the current circumstances, and this can be construed as mindless behavior. The process of drawing novel distinctions can lead to a number of diverse consequences, including (1) a greater sensitivity to one's environment, (2) more openness to new information, (3) the creation of new categories for structuring perception, and (4) enhanced awareness of multiple perspectives in problem solving. The subjective "feel" of mindfulness is that of a heightened state of involvement and wakef ulness or being in the present. This subjective state is the inherent common thread that ties together the extremely diverse observable consequences for the viewer. Mindfulness is not a cold cognitive process. When one is actively drawing novel distinctions, the whole individual is involved.

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Take the first step and before you know it you will have walked a mile.

"A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last achievement. In this way he steadily raises his level of aspiration." -- Kurt Lewin

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." -- Thomas Edison

"The easiest thing in the world to be is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position."
-- Leo Buscaglia

Winning Photo

Photo: A crow flies over statues of Buddha

JUNE 7, 2011

Buddhas and Bird, Sri Lanka

Photograph by Gaston Lacombe
This Month in Photo of the Day: Traveler Contest Images
Sri Lanka's ubiquitous Buddhas mingle with one of Sri Lanka's omnipresent crows.
(This photo and caption were submitted to the 2011 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.)
Have photos of your own travels you would like to submit? Enter today!

Suffering is an integral part of life.

‎"You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head, but you can prevent them from nesting in your hair."
Swedish proverb

Choose Your Poison: Fundamentalism

Choose Your Poison: Fundamentalism

“A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.” - Dr. Carl Sagan

“A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.”

- Dr. Carl Sagan

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

- Dr. Carl Sagan

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dalai Lama - Mission Statement

“He frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of inter-religious harmony and the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture and religion.”

Suffering flows from wishing things were other than they are.

We live on a revolving slaughterhouse and no amount of trying can change the situation.  The population growth is exponential and we are entering something called "Peak Everything" wherein there will be shortages of all the necessities of life, such as clean air, sufficient water to drink and grow crops, oil and metals, arable land and so on.

Bertrand says some nice things.  I prefer "compassion" to his word "pity" regarding the suffering in the history of  Planet Earth.  Sadly, we are facing a period of great change brought about by runaway population growth, global warming and the breakdown of the social structure in powerful countries in America and Europe.  The East is on the rise as we become more desperate to manage our economies and share the wealth of our nations.  The staggering amount of wealth in few hands can only create more problems.  People are sick of "Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the people" which has gutted the Middle Class of many Western Economies.  Where will it all end?  Utopia is decidedly unlikely.  

"Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.

These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair..Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people..the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me."

Betrand Russell - Prologue: "What I Have Lived For"

I prefer the words of the Dalai Lama:

A mission statement of sorts:

“He frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of inter-religious harmony and the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture and religion.”

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wall Street Protests Are Growing

"Men., it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."

- Charles Mackay
Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Patience is the beginning of Mindfulness

Love the sinner and hate the sin.
Opera Omnia, Vol II. Col. 962, letter 211

An unjust law is no law at all.
On Free Choice Of The Will, Book 1, § 5
Humilitas homines sanctis angelis similes facit, et superbia ex angelis demones facit.

To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of things eternal; to knowledge, the rational apprehension of things temporal.

Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.
As quoted in Majority of One (1957) by Sydney J. Harris, p. 283

Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.

As quoted in Spirituality and Liberation: Overcoming the Great Fallacy (1988) by Robert McAfee Brown, p. 136

To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of things eternal; to knowledge, the rational apprehension of things temporal.
As quoted in The Anchor Book of Latin Quotations: with English translations‎ (1990) by Norbert Guterman, p. 375

Quantum in te crescit amor, tantum crescit pulchritudo; quia ipsa charitas est animae pulchritudo.
Beauty grows in you to the extent that love grows, because charity itself is the soul's beauty.
Tr. Boniface Ramsey, Homilies on the First Epistle of John (2008: Augustinian Heritage Institute), Ninth Homily

Variant: Inasmuch as love grows in you, in so much beauty grows; for love is itself the beauty of the soul.
Tr. H. Browne and J. H. Meyers, Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John (1995), The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Ninth Homily, §9

By faithfulness we are collected and wound up into unity within ourselves, whereas we had been scattered abroad in multiplicity.

As quoted in Footprints in Time : Fulfilling God's Destiny for Your Life (2007) by Jeff O'Leary, p. 223

Patience is the companion of wisdom.

St. Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 20 August 430)

(As quoted in Distilled Wisdom: An Encyclopedia of Wisdom in Condensed Form‎ (1964) by Alfred Armand Montapert, p. 270)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mindfulness Continental Style

“The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects.
We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous;
but we do not notice it.”
(Charles Baudelaire - French poet, 1821-1867)

Imagery for Getting Well

Creating the image of meaning in despair, finding joy in crisis, and imaging hope in tragedy.  In other words, it is about seeing the pony in the mire of a life-threatening or chronic condition.

- Deirdre Davis Brigham, author "Imagery for Getting Well -Clinical Applications of Behavioral Medicine

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beginner's Mind

Sit down before facts like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion.  Follow humbly whatever and to whatever abyss nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.
- T.H. Huxley